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Jimmy Needham Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Jimmy Needham lyrics)
Jimmy Needham Biography
When singer/songwriter Jimmy Needham was in high school, he couldn't get enough of the blues. Blues music, that is. While he was never able to pinpoint exactly what about the blues "stirred him up," he was always drawn to singers with a little soul in their voices.
Of course, he didn't know it at the time, but his love of the blues would soon make its way into his own music. But rather than a response to heartbreak or social injustice-common themes of mainstream blues music-the soul that resonates in Needham's vocals comes from what he's most passionate about: his relationship with Jesus and sharing the Gospel with anyone who's willing to hear.
"When you get saved, you can't help but write about what really gets you going. And for me, that just happened to be the Lord," Needham says. "When it comes down to it, whoever says music isn't spiritual is either lying to you or doesn't understand music-because it's so affecting."
Although he didn't combine his passion for music with his newfound faith until late into high school, it didn't take long for Needham to see what direction his life and music were headed. "Even then I could see the Lord shaping my music ministry into just that-a ministry. When I'd sing, I'd feel like I was getting to teach. The songs the Lord was giving to me had more of an admonishing tone to them," Needham explains. "I really don't feel that I had much of a say in it because I know this journey hasn't been my doing."
While Needham's musical influences on his Inpop debut, Speak, include the likes of Jonny Lang, Lauryn Hill, Gavin DeGraw, Marc Broussard and Jason Mraz, he says it's actually the late Keith Green who's most effected the album lyrically. "When I listen to him it's cool because I feel the Lord has given us the same spirit in what we're singing about," Needham says. "If music-especially Christian music-doesn't either cause me to repent or worship, then I don't know why I'm listening to it. And I think that's why I like Keith Green so much. He didn't sugarcoat things."
Like Green, Needham is passionate about sharing the Gospel, both through music and a street ministry team he's part of on Thursday nights in the College Station, Texas area, where he's also studying history and philosophy at Texas A&M. "A few semesters ago, I really got convicted about the need for one-on-one evangelism," Needham confesses. "So I co-lead a street evangelism team which goes out to the bars on North Gate in College Station. I've found this whole experience to be quite eye opening. As soon as you start sharing your faith regularly, you can't help but look at everyone differently when you're walking around in your day-to-day life."
Relating one-on-one with people is also what Needham considers to be the most rewarding part about playing shows. "I really want to make a point of having conversation with people. We want it to be ministry and not just entertainment," Needham clarifies. "Entertainment is fine, but if it's not bearing fruit for the Lord, I don't see how any party benefits. No one can handle worship but God anyway, so if they're just excited about me being up there, then that's so vacant. And I'm going to get arrogant, they're going to get idolatrous, and God's not going to get any glory. So the more my music can be about putting the emphasis back on Jesus, the ministry of sharing the Gospel, then praise the Lord."
On Speak, Needham's message comes across just as clear. Besides singing about our inability to fully grasp God's grace on "Lost At Sea" or living out faith in an authentic way, as evident on "Fence Rider," Needham considers the title track most important of all.
"It's all about sharing the Gospel," Needham explains. "There's this book called The One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven, the title is even so profound. Basically, the only thing I can't do for the Lord when I get in heaven is share the Gospel because everyone there will already be saved. And so at the top of God's priority list must be evangelism. I think we mask that or avoid it by saying 'Well, I'm going to share the Gospel with my actions,' which is biblical. We need to be an example of Christ. But the hook of the song is 'How will they know if we don't even speak?' If we're not talking about the Lord, I can serve you all day but my service is not going to explain the entirety of the Gospel to you. For me I think we need to not just serve the lost but talk about the hope we have."